7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.5)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.5) August 5, 2013

1. Read the bullet-points from this Family Research Council fundraising letter. There are eight of them. Seven of those eight are lies. Not errors. Not controversial statements. Not descriptions or assertions of one side of a partisan dispute. Simple lies. Lies knowingly told in the hopes of frightening the fearful into sending more money.

This is what bearing false witness against your neighbor looks like. And this is why the Liar Tony Perkins is called the Liar Tony Perkins. Because he lies, all the time, for money.

2. Language Log takes a look at the etymology of the pejorative suffix -bag. The main theory seems to be that it objectifies by reducing the other to a mere receptacle. This has me thinking back to middle school and wanting this to be a series exploring the etymologies of other pejorative suffixes: -wad, -weed, -wipe, -pants, -head, -heimer, etc.

3. TexasTexasTexasTexasTexasTexas.

4. Common Errors.

5. Doug Muder on the for-me-but-not-for-thee right-wing reinvention of “religious liberty”:

To make this work, conservative Christians need to divert attention from the people they are mistreating by portraying themselves as the victims. And that requires cultivating a hyper-sensitivity to any form of involvement in activities they disapprove of. So rather than sympathize with the lesbian couple who gets the bakery door slammed in their faces, the public should instead sympathize with the poor wedding-cake baker whose moral purity is besmirched when the labor of his hands is used in a celebration of immorality and perversion.

There’s a name for this tactic: passive aggression.

6. Scott McKnight has a lovely series going about the parables of Jesus (start here).

Jesus told parable after parable, and the parables are not just illustrations. Parables are fictional stories depicting an alternative world. The essence of his parables probe into this mindset he wants from his followers: Imagine a world like this. The story, the parable, takes you into its world where you will encounter a short or a little longer sketch of a reality, of a world, of what the world could be — if people were to live like this. The parable invites you into an imagined world.

7. RIP Doghouse Riley.


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  • AnonaMiss

    1. The policy used to be that anyone South of the U.S.-Mexico border is prohibited from commenting.

    What the actual fuck.

  • I considered Australia to be a land too unpopulated to be worth considering until I found the Vridar blog.

  • How does my comment policy display any signs of a personality disorder? I wrote it for the purpose of making it clear to potential commentators which comments would or would not be published.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    EH, I’d like to apologize for brining up your comment policy. I thought everybody would have fun picking it apart, but that was mean and immature on my part. I’m sorry.

  • How?

  • I don’t think you did anything wrong. After all, you weren’t the one being immature. Besides, it is good to see whether people are consistent in all their Internet activity. Constructive criticism of any part of my blog is welcomed by me, unless I consider it wrong-headed.

  • Let me guess: The part you’re apologizing for is that it isn’t fun at all; it just reveals new depths to the horror.

  • I don’t try to make everything about me. I didn’t expect the ridiculous response to my making it explicit that I was downvoting IN not for disagreement, but for my past experience with him. You’re right that I should consider not just responding to other people’s comments or complaining (over 90% of my comments here are responses), but actually productively leading threads.

  • You are hardly alone. I giggled most of the way through that page.

  • Please explain what was funny about it. I want potential commentators to be serious, not giggling through my pages. I appreciate constructive criticism unless I consider it wrong-headed.

  • Don’t worry, dude. I have no intention of commenting on your blog – there are actually only a handful of places in the internet where I hang out and comment, mostly because my time is limited.

    Part of the amusement was simple, yes-I-know-it’s-immature, derived from your continual threats to “molest” comments that didn’t meet your standards. Part of it was that the language and restrictions were so tight and elaborate and, yes, seemed quite draconian – which is not something I’m used to seeing in comments. My favorite internet community’s rules boil down to “Respect other people, don’t bully other people, and assume good faith unless there’s evidence to the contrary.” Also the fact that “radical” is not allowed (what about in its more youthful slang fashion? “That argument about the agrarian cultural standards was radical, dude!”), but “shitheaded” is… also amusing, and I honestly cannot wrap my mind around the idea that you have had SUCH an issue with people using the word “hyper-skepticism” that you have had to institute a policy against it.

  • myeck waters
  • Part of it was that the language and restrictions were so tight and
    elaborate and, yes, seemed quite draconian – which is not something I’m
    used to seeing in comments.

    -I don’t find them elaborate or draconian at all! Can you explain how the restrictions in my comment policy might be (probably mis-)interpreted as elaborate or draconian?
    As far as I can tell, no one has ever used any of the presently-prohibited words or phrases in the comments of my blog. Just as I do with quotes on my Quotes page, when I find a meaningless or otherwise nonsensical word or phrase used frequently, I place it in the List of Prohibited Words and Phrases. For real-world examples of me molesting comments, see the comments on AJaL.

    what about in its more youthful slang fashion?

    -Eeww. That might be worse than that word’s use by Josh McDowell. “Shitheaded” at least has a meaning. As for why I don’t like the word, see my tirade against it at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/05/08/smart-people-saying-smart-things-99/#comment-889942569
    Since I consider skepticism to be a good thing (I despise that word’s misuse by so-called “climate skeptics”…ooh, possibly another one for the pile) and to include skepticism of Type II errors, I find use of the term “hyper-skepticism” for “unwarranted suspicion” extremely annoying.

    As for your favorite Internet community’s rules, no commentator (other than me) has ever responded to another commentator (other than me) on my blog.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    That you think I did nothing wrong is precisely why I feel bad. It’s hard to explain, but basically, there’s a disconnect between the way you use language and interpret comments and the way most of the other commenters here do, and I feel like I exploited that. That’s why I’m apologizing.

    As to your comment policy, I think VMtheCoyote explained well what I found funny about it.

  • general_apathy

    It’s the sixth-largest country in the world, and home to 23 million people.

  • It’s the sixth-largest country in the world,

    -Yeah, and the vast majority of it is desert.

    and home to 23 million people.

    -Less than the populations of Venezuela or Canada, both countries I don’t care that much about.

  • phantomreader42

    I am now curious how the phrase “what the actual fuck” translates to Spanish…

  • I still can’t find the non-lie. Is it “The Department of Justice has been caught spying on news reporters.”? If the Defense Department had actually been caught persecuting Christians, that would have been the biggest news in months (how many non-Christians work for the Defense Department)?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Is it “The Department of Justice has been caught spying on news reporters.”?

    I think so. A few of the others (or at least parts of a few of the others) could plausibly be massaged by someone really trying to spin the truth in a very misleading way, but I’d guess Fred is counting spying on reporters as the non-lie.

  • Ross Thompson

    Nonsense. I put up a list of prohibited words and phrases because I
    think these words and phrases have no productive purpose and are used
    only (or usually) when people are trying to be assholes.

    If someone uses them in their proper context while attempting to make an actual point, would you ban them for not sticking to your arcane and arbitrary rules?

  • general_apathy

    On behalf of Canada: We don’t care that much about you, either.

  • There are no proper ways to use the words “Islamophobia” or “hyper-skepticism” except in the context of poking fun at those who use them. I probably would allow a comment that made a productive point and happened to use the word “radical” in the chemical sense while doing so. I don’t see how my rules are arcane-they are public.

  • Ross Thompson

    “Hyper-skepticism” is a perfectly valid term; certainly no more insulting than the alternatives you suggest. I’m tempted to grant you “Islamophobia”, but I’m not sure it’s any more problematic than “homophobia” or “racism”. And “radical” has a very precise (and value-neutral) meaning in political science that doesn’t match up with any of the alternatives you provide.

  • Ross Thompson

    The policy used to be that anyone South of the U.S.-Mexico border is prohibited from commenting. It was changed when someone living in Serbia made clear and relevant (though utterly disagreeable) points in the YouTube comments on my YouTube channel.

    Are these two sentences related? Serbia is entirely north of 41°N, while Mexico doesn’t extend north of 33°N, so Serbia would qualify under the original rules.

    (Also, I stand by my earlier point about capricious and arbitrary rules purely for the sake of having rules)

  • Ross Thompson

    Maybe you should just downvote him and not bother announcing how special you are for doing that?

  • Are these two sentences related? Serbia is entirely north of 41°N, while Mexico doesn’t extend north of 33°N, so Serbia would qualify under the original rules.

    -Yes, Serbia would qualify under the original rules, but those sentences are related since, IIRC, it was still the Serbian resident’s YouTube comments that prompted me to change the comment policy.

  • See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/08/05/7-things-11-oclock-8-5/#comment-990710152 for my position on “hyper-skepticism” and “radical”.

    Islam is a set of ideas with dangerous consequences. Homosexuality is a sexual preference with about as many dangerous consequences as heterosexuality. One can’t lump Pam Geller and Sam Harris into an “Islamophobes” category, one tends toward far more batshittery about Muslims than the other. One can lump Stalin and Mohler into a “homophobes” category; both use(d) basically the same implicit reasoning to condemn homosexuality. So far as I know, noone has committed a terrorist attack in the name of homosexuality. Many have committed terrorist attacks in the name of the Religion of Peace (sarcasm intended).

    Who do you think is a radical? Would I count? Would Bob Murphy (a Christian anarchist, BTW) count?

  • Ross Thompson

    I don’t know Bob Murphy, but you’re the opposite of a radical; you’re a reactionary.

  • Ross Thompson

    IIRC, it was still the Serbian resident’s YouTube comments that prompted me to change the comment policy.

    Commenter X makes a cogent argument, and you realised that people who are not Commenter X might also make cogent arguments?

    I can’t help but wonder why you didn’t realise that before you heard from a Serbian…

  • What do you define as a radical, then?

  • David S.

    I once scribbled on a solicitation letter (envelope) my father got from Focus on the Family asking for money for a Supreme Court shot for the Alabama judge and his 20-ton granite Ten Commandments, pointing out they didn’t have a shot at getting before the Court. All the political crap I had to swallow, but this was practically an outright lie to get money from my father; I knew, as did everyone else who had watched the Supreme Court, that they weren’t going to take this case of a big blowhard who didn’t even bother to try and look neutral. My dad sent them money anyway.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Not caring about people does seem to be your thing.

  • Oh… oh, EH. Reading comments like this, I almost can’t even get angry because there’s just something amusing about your general seriousness about even the most arbitrary and irrelevant details.

    …and then I read downwards, and realize that you consider people from two entire continents, at least, not worth listening to. And that you’re Islamaph- oh, sorry, I guess I mean “hateful and bigoted towards Muslims on the basis of their religion.” And then you downvote someone’s blessing on a marriage because the word ‘blessing’ offends you.

    But I’ve wasted too much time and space being angry and generally reacting to your posts here. I think that with this, I am done responding to you in any way, shape, or form. Sorry – you’ll have to ask someone else for constructive criticism on your comment policy. Good day, sir – and good luck with the rest of your life, outside of oppressing/hurting others.

  • I have never been hateful or bigoted toward Muslims. That was a hurtful and incorrect description of me. I simply do not like the word “Islamophobia”. I used to consider those in Australia unlikely to comment on my blog and generally not worth caring about. I turned out to be wrong. Though Canada supplies a large portion of my blog readership, I still don’t care much about the country. I certainly listen to Australians and Canadians (I have people from both countries on my blogroll).

    Canada isn’t a continent, either.

  • Sigh. I suppose I’m breaking my own rules, but for the very last time, as a sort of post-script.

    (Let me also clarify. The comment/posting policy in the internet community of which I spoke did not just refer to comments to each other there, but also to people in general. As a community, we are expected to not be disrespectful towards others in our comments and posts, whether they’re around or not. Thus, I think the point stands. Yes, I’m guilty of breaking it, too. I’m working on it. With difficulty.)

    When I said “two continents,” I was talking about South America and Africa – slightly incorrectly, as it happens, since it is only the majority of Africa that is farther south than the US-Mexico border. I suppose you are to be commended for changing this policy, and I apologize for misreading it. The fact that it did not appear to occur to you that you were excluding all of South America and most of Africa, not just Australia, concerns me.

    Believing that the entire religion of Islam is a dangerous and toxic philosophy – I guess you’re right. Bigoted against Islam. That’s still plenty offensive.

    In sum: I’m done, goodbye, continue upvoting and downvoting as you see fit, etc.

  • Turcano

    Hell, that’s what I do.

  • hf

    (Way behind here!) I have misgivings about some of the reasoning at the “Common Errors” site. It says that Constantine “must” have had a vision because it would make no sense for a politician to lie about this – people don’t trust religious fanatics (to put it more bluntly). But I think Romans at the time often cared a great deal about omens and “taking the auspices.” It’s speculation to say that Constantine needed an augur – or a religious figure he could declare an augur after the fact – to bless his power grab. But it does seem plausible to this layman.